!!!Sony is treading on some seriously dangerous ground here, dangerous enough to potentially break the company. Their reputation is pretty well mud among the geek set for the DRM infections, rootkit fiascos and general corporate ickyness of the past couple of years. This drove away some early adopters.
The $600 price tag drove away more making it a non-starter as an impulse buy. It was late to market, they couldn't supply the vastly lowered expectations they set weeks before Christmas, and in general failed miserably on execution. Net result, about half of the sales they were projecting six months before, possibly less than that. To add insult to injury, Nintendo blew by them and laughed.
This did not escape the notice of the software makers either. They are faced with optimistically twice the cost to write a game for the PS3 as the 360 and only a fifth the market to sell it in to. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the second generation of PS3 games will have a lot more ROI calculations done on them before they get a green light. Many won't get that green light.
This is far more than a theoretical problem though, in talking to several game developers, the death spiral for Sony has already begun. Many are telling me they are not writing Cell code any more, just farming it out, the 360 is the development target now.
The problem there is that the 360 will be utilized fully and optimized for. If there are special features of the 360, they will get used, and every tweak and hack explored as well. This will then be shoveled off to some poor third party who has to make it work on the PS3, a very different architecture with a very different set of strengths and weaknesses.
What you end up with is a fully utilized 360 and the 'same' game on the PS3 with all the weaknesses of the 360 and all the weaknesses of the PS3. Add in very little budget to optimize the resultant PS3 code, and you get a B-list version of an A-list title. This will be readily apparent to even the most blatantly paid for game reviewer.
Can you guess the result? Slower software sales, slower hardware sales, and higher costs. Those dollars end up going somewhere, people want to play games. So they buy a 360, it has all the cool games. This drives up unit sales, lowers cost, and makes MS very happy.
Sony is on the verge of the death spiral. You can tell they are desperately spinning the rhetoric to keep hope alive, but private conversations with game devs tell me it is not flying behind closed doors. How long can Sony, or more to the point, will Sony keep up the money hose? Can they do it until the ugly duckling called PS3 turns into a swan, or will it stay ugly and die?
Meanwhile, MS is on the verge of a price cut, is the primary development target for every console dev I talk to and is selling like hotcakes. PS3s are languishing on the shelves and getting the cold shoulder from the devs. One company is on the virtuous cycle, the other has their toes over the edge of the death spiral. Dire times indeed for Sony.
European PS3 Will Play Fewer PS1 & PS2 Titles
With a four month delay, £125 price premium and elimination of the cheaper 20GB option you wouldn’t think Sony could alienate its European customer base anymore than it already has... but that’s where you’d be wrong.
Yesterday – just one month from the console’s official launch date – Sony sent round a curious press release to journalists detailing the ‘Hardware Specification of PlayStation 3 for Europe’. This seemed odd since other than switching to PAL and cutting on a different plug there seemed no need for a ‘European’ PS3. Then it all clicked into place when Sony referred to the machine being “compatible with a broad range of original PlayStation (PS) titles and a limited range of PlayStation 2 (PS2) titles”.
Surely this couldn’t be true, the PS3 released to the rest of the world officially plays 98 per cent of older PS2 and PS titles. So this was the hardware change...
It turns out that despite charging us a whopping great price premium Sony is actually cutting costs on the internals of our PS3s. Whereas consoles shipping to the rest of the world have a dedicated chip to handle backwards compatibility the European PS3s will scrap it in favour of weaker software emulation.
The reason: European law dictates that Sony will be responsible for the reliability of its console for up to two years and in the rest of the world it tends to be one year. Sony felt this could be compromised by the hardware which handles backwards compatibility so it was hauled out to replaced with a cheaper and more reliable software alternative that doesn’t work nearly so well.
Of course this raises three questions: 1. Just how much does “a broad range of PlayStation titles and a limited range of PlayStation 2 titles” equate to? 2. Why not simply make a reliable product? And 3.Just how unreliable does this mean other versions of the PS3 are? Obviously Sony didn’t comment on any of these points.
Instead it put out a ridiculous statement of self justification from SCE European President David Reeves.
“PS3 is first and foremost a system that excels in playing games specifically designed to exploit the power and potential of the PS3 system,” said Reeves, no doubt sensing the outrage that would greet these comments. “Games designed for PS3 offer incredible graphics quality, stunning gameplay and massively improved audio and video fidelity that is simply not achievable with PS and PS2 games.” Then here it came: “Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, truly taking advantage of this exciting technology.”
Did you see it? It was subtle wasn’t it!
Now I won’t dignify this nonsense by responding to it but clearly Sony has sunk to new depths in the handling of its European customers. I can only hope that the public votes with its chequebook, namely by keeping it in their pocket, but I fear far too many will be unaware of this deliberately last minute alteration until it is too late.
At least now you are not one of those people though, are you...
This looks like it could be kind of awesome: http://kotaku.com/gaming/clips/gdc07...ome-242341.php
Gears of war owns all
...with a fistful of steel.
oh my god, i'm officially freaked out and excited simultaneously.
Ah, but see, it's not just about Gears. There are tons of great games coming out for the 360 this year i.e. Mass Effect, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Halo 3, Bioshock, Guitar Hero II, Forza Motorsport 2, Eternal Sonata, etc, etc. That's why I own one, it def def is an amazing machine, and it just keeps getting better and better.
...with a fistful of steel.
I bet you're not walking in the park today.awesome, now you guys never have to leave the house again.
I don't know or particularly care about games but this article looked cool. You all probably know all this already.
yeah, the pixies, correct me if I'm wrong, did some of the soundtrack for GRAW 2; also, I think some of their songs will be available for download from Xbox Live Marketplace.
...with a fistful of steel.
the pixies are not eno.
wow, did you really just say that? I was simply stating related news to artists music in videogames.
...with a fistful of steel.
ok i picked up God Of War 2 at like 12 and just now left the room. This game is better than the first, its basically the same thing, but they took out all the really long running around puzzles and there are no more way too long balancebeam levels or platform levels (so far) The story is amazing, I thought it was just gonna fall short but i like this story more than the first one, I can actually see an off shoot video game comming from this story line.
I miss Bill Hicks.
OMG I GOT A WII TODAY FROM SAMS CLUB MY INNER NERD IS SO FUCKING PLEASED!!!!!!!!! I cannot wait to go out to the bar and be all cool with the ladies and dazzle them with "you want to come back to my place and play with my Wii?".....I know......Im just happy, and high on percocet. mmmmmmmm.....
ive been playing MLB 2k7 none stop since i bought it.
lollipops and crisps
I've been playing a shitload of Chrono Trigger recently...
Wait, when did it stop being the mid 90s?!
chrono trigger was very possibly the best RPG on super nes. maybe ff3/6 is better. but its so very close. i am loving my GBA remake of ff6. currently also playing ssx blur on the wii. hard as fuck to do ubertricks.
(makitron from the old board)